Even though Jill Schmucker had two other sons, she’d never gone into labor before. It was always induced.
Until that night.
“Contractions started and after a little while, I called my doctor and she said just go to the hospital,” she said.
Forty weeks pregnant, she woke her husband Tony, who was sleeping in another room. She told him they had to go.
“He was super nervous, like, oh my gosh, we’re going to have the baby on the way there,” she said.
Schmucker assured her husband she would be fine. They woke their other two boys, got them dressed and into the car.
“We didn’t get very far, just right down the road, and something happened,” Jill Schmucker said. “He had a seizure or some kind of brain stroke or aneurysm — they said it could be any of those.”
The car veered off the road, hit a mountainside head-on then rolled into a ditch, she said.
At first she was in shock, but when that shock wore off, Schmucker said she realized her husband was still unconscious. Her children in the backseat were alright, but her back was broken and she was pinned.
She realized her phone, which had been sitting in her lap, was gone. But then she remembered her husband kept his phone in his pocket.
So, she talked to her son Ryder, 6, about grabbing the phone.
“I had Ryder look for the phone in Tony’s pants and he found it and then we kind of worked together to call 911 and he did a lot of the talking because I couldn’t get a signal from where I was in the car,” she said.
After first responders realized her back was broken, they cut open the car to get her out. Then she was taken to Medical Center of the Rockies where she had an emergency C-section.
“I didn’t find out what had happened officially until after I had the baby and was waiting to hear about my back so…I didn’t really want to know,” she said.
Tony Schmucker had died.
His wife describes him as a die-hard Broncos fan. The couple even wore Broncos gear to announce their new son’s birth on Facebook.
She said Tony was a loving father and husband. He was the quintessential Coloradan who loved to spend time outdoors. He often took Jill and the kids with him, teaching them his ways.
“He was such a positive person … he just always believed the best in everyone and that’s what I want them to remember,” she said.
Tony worked hard so that Jill could stay at home with the kids. Now Jill is trying to figure out what she will do.
Family and friends set up a GoFundMe page on January 13, which has already raised more than $70,000 for the family.
Jill is recovering from her back injury. She temporarily can’t lift heavy items. But she is able to feed and hold her newborn baby Leedan.
The other two children in the car, Ryder and Rollie, 4, only had minor injuries from the crash.
SOURCE: USA Today – Steve Staeger, KUSA-TV, Denver